Quick Draw!

One of my most unforgettable characters is Flay Randolph. He still lives in Buckeye, Arizona, though he must be older than the sand by now. But what a great guy; he’s like an uncle to me, and his wife, Irene is a jewel, as well.

I worked on a hay farm Flay was managing when I was just out of high school. It was a huge farm, and I did everything imaginable and drove every kind of farm machine there was to drive that had anything to do with hay. My favorite was what we called a road-sider—it probably has another name, but that was what I knew it by. It was fun, because once you got the hang of it, you could go real fast. It was used to pick up the hay bales and stack them in big rows on the side of the road adjacent to the fields, where eighteen-wheelers would come and load up with hay bales.

One day when I’d first started working for him, Flay was giving me a tour of the farm; showing me where everything was, how the fields were laid out and numbered, and various other aspects of the farm. We were driving slowly between two fields of hay, Flay explaining things to me, when a coyote came out of a hay field, bounded across and irrigation ditch and into the road.

I hardly had time to see the coyote—it stopped and stared at us like we were trespassing—before the gunfire erupted from Flay’s side of the pickup. Dust kicked up around the coyote then it got the dickens out of there, vanishing into the hay field across the road. Flay got into the truck, and grinned at me.

My eyes felt as though they were about to come out of my head, and I was turned in the seat, staring at Flay like he was an alien being. “What the hell?” I said loudly, thinking his ears had to be ringing as loudly as mine. “Where’d that gun come from?”

Flay got back out of the pickup and told me to come around to his side. I got out and went around to where he was standing, and he showed me the holster he had mounted on the side of the truck’s seat; he’d already returned the 44 magnum to the holster, and smoke was drifting from its barrel.

I looked from the gun to Flay, still trying to comprehend how he’d gotten out of the truck so quickly and begun firing at the coyote. “Show me how you did that.” I said.

Flay grinned—he loved and audience—then got into the truck and shut the door.

I stepped back out of the way then watched as the door swung open, Flay stepped out—the .44 already in his hand—and pointed the gun down the road where the coyote had been. I asked him to do it again with the door open, so I could see how he got the gun in his hand so fast. It was a timing thing, and he actually slid his leading leg over the gun; reached between his legs to grab it; and by the time his second foot hit the ground he was aiming the gun down the road.

An amazing thing to watch! I bet he had to practice a lot, before he perfected the move!

By the way, the only way I’d try that stunt is if the gun wasn’t loaded.


  1. cheri said

    how cool…that must have been pretty impressive:)
    have you ever written down all the job experinces you have had?

    • I saw Flay a couple of weeks ago, and forgot to remind him about this story.
      I never have done that, might have to, and write a little something about it.

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    He is still quite a character . . . I really enjoyed meeting him and his wife, Irene.

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